Sep 12, 2017 | Payel Mukherjee
Statistical evidence shows that content marketing can increase the average conversion rate to almost 6 times. But if done right, you have the potential to go beyond ‘average’. Content marketing can not only give you immediate spikes in conversion analytics but also long-term dividends. And that’s just one reason to ensure that your e-Commerce website adopts a good content strategy. And there is more.
Image Source: Lemonstand
Content marketing plays a crucial role in crafting your overall online reputation. It helps build trust in your company, increases word-of-mouth mentions and is the best way to gather buzz for your products. It even allows you to build a community around your brand and have followers convert over a period of time.
While you mull if the time and money investment in content marketing for an e-commerce site is really worth it, here is some food for thought -
You can generate 3x leads from content marketing than traditional marketing
Source: The Demandmetric
If you haven’t tried content marketing for your e-Commerce business, its high time you get started. Considering that running a business is already a full-time job, it’s a great idea to have an expert consultant who can handcraft the strategy for you. Starting randomly and not know what and how to measure generally proves to be a mistake that costs more than money – it costs valuable time that your brand could have spent building customers for the near future.
If you decide to get the ball rolling, we have a great list of strategies below with examples on how you can implement them.
1. Create useful content
People don’t like to be sold to all the time. They certainly aren’t crazy about in-the-face advertising. What they do like is content that is useful. Content filled with tips and tricks and hacks that can make things easy. As an e-Commerce platform, you’ll have many opportunities to use this strategy. It sometimes may relate directly to your products. More often, it may not. Nonetheless, being useful will draw users back to your site.
One of the best use case for this can be seen with Lowe’s. The retailer makes an innovative use of short Vine videos to mostly share useful tips with its users. There is only an occasional product plug and no one really minds it. You can see that most videos have thousands of loops and likes showing the amount of engagement they generate.
This simple yet innovative practice is followed by many non e-Commerce sites too. Take the Jugaad page on Facebook which is actually run by the Punjab Kesari publication. Full of useful hacks, the brand is only subtly mentioned in the end. But it creates an interesting strategy for association and recall. No wonder you see your Facebook feed filled with’life hacks’ these days.
2. Create content that resonates
Each section of the target audience for your website falls into a ‘category’ that likes and enjoys certain activities. If you can be an advocate for these activities, it is likely that your audience will begin to bond with you beyond your products.
A good example is the Scotts Menswear blog which shows how this is done. You’ll find the blog covering fashion, film, TV, life, music, and sports. From the most talked-about boxing matches to covering exclusive interviews and behind the scene notes with music bands that their target audience follows, the blog is full of life. It also has ample product plugs from the store but they make the blog look nice with high-quality photos and interesting content.
3. Don’t forget to have a sense of humour
Everyone needs a good laugh once in a while. Or at least a smile would help. And it’ll help your e-Commerce website too if it puts your customers in a better mood. No matter what channel you use to communicate, adding a sprinkle of humour can keep things light and happy. Take for example Amazon India's posts on their Facebook page. The ad works the excuses-to-take-leave angle perfectly and prepares you for its annual mega sale.
Help the busy bhai convince his boss to give him leave. Amazon Great Indian Festival, coming soon! #KaroMilkeTayyariPosted by Amazon India on Sunday, September 10, 2017
4. Develop a YouTube channel to drive traffic
Wondering how e-Commerce platforms can use YouTube?
Considering that video is one of best mediums to quickly share information with your users (and YouTube is one of the most popular channels on the internet), it can definitely play a role in driving traffic to your e-Commerce platform too.
YouTube videos are a great way to showcase the benefits of your products. Think of making the videos interesting by showcasing use cases that your audience may not have thought about initially.
If product plugs are too obvious, then go back to useful and resonating content. With the eventual growth in subscribers and views, a part of the traffic will come back to your e-Commerce website too.
Zagg is a company that creates screen protectors for iPhones. If you are an iPhone user, you know how supremely important this product is. But how will you know if it is as good as it claims. The video ad uploaded on YouTube starts by showing an iPhone screen scratched by a key! You can imagine how powerful this imagery is.
Using this an other ads, the company achieved a whopping 75% increase in conversions. The company continues to upload 100 ads a year to showcase both features and benefits of a product that can be much better shown than explained in text.
5. Nurture a community
Whether it's your blog, newsletter or social channels, use content to create and nurture your target audience. A community can be about related topics and once it reaches a critical mass, it’ll tend to take over and all you’ll need to do is moderate when necessary.
If your e-Commerce website sells organic food, a community that actively participates in organic gardening practices is a potential target audience as they perfectly know the ‘value’ of your products. The choice of topic for the core community, in this case, allows the e-Commerce company to cast a much wider net for the audience than just ‘consumers of organic food’. It also serves as an inspiration for people to make better and healthier choices. Therefore a community around health tips is also a great option for such a site.
6. Share ample how-tos
How-tos come back to the ‘being useful’ category but here you have a better option to do this for your products without sounding ‘salesy’. After all, you are ‘educating’ your customer about how something works, what they can do with it and how it’ll impact their life. Such videos especially work if you are presenting a new or innovative product that is yet to gain acceptance in the market.
How-to video search rose by over 70% since 2015 and there are a lot more people Googling about how-tos in the future too. 91% smartphone users consult their phone to seek help for completing a task.
A nice example of a brand executing this is Asana. Asana’s videos are branded as a video series ‘How-to-Asana’. They have a consistent theme, are vibrant, hosted by the same person and have someone using their calendar tool.
Another great example comes from LuxyHair who use their blog and YouTube videos for general how-tos about hair and in the process share some of their product hacks too
7. Rope in influencers
This is a neat little trick that many haven’t tried because it seems a little intimidating to execute. Influencer marketing has grown as a recent buzzword in the world of content and digital and can be used effectively to extrapolate your marketing impact.
Deemed as one of India’s hottest startups in handicrafts in India, CraftsVilla helps local artisans directly sell online, removing middlemen and high margins. The company recruited many popular fashion bloggers from India to blog about the various collections available on the CraftsVilla website from ethnic to casuals. Using the products, these popular fashion bloggers created look books, shared unique photos. You can read the Craftsvilla influencer marketing case study here. Though we aren’t sure how many conversions this campaign got, we know that it did generate considerable engagement and eyeballs, putting the brands products on the spotlight.
Also check out the popular Pummy Aunty plug done by Kurkure Snacks showing how you can pick get a push by combining the right influence, topic, mood and brand.
8. Try a quiz
Quizzes work amazingly well to keep your target audience engaged longer. Instead of creating general quizzes, you can create ones that can help you achieve specific goals like acquiring subscribers, growing your email list and even use the quiz answers to tailor content presented to your users.
Z Gallerie showcases products procured from all over the world. They already have a thriving community of interior designers and created the ‘What is your Z Gallerie style personality’ quiz to generate leads. Depending on the answers provided in the quiz, Z Gallerie then customized the user’s experience on their website.
Do quizzes translate to real money for e-Commerce websites? You bet! Here’s an interesting example of how The Elephant Pants used a quiz to fund their Kickstarter campaign. Before they became an established company, they created a quiz ‘Which pair of Elephant Pants are you’. The campaign generated over $8,500 – enough to fund their campaign and in the process also created a loyal customer base even before they went to market. You’ll find many more interesting examples here.
9. Choose content specifically to build relationships
Your target audience exist in an ecosystem where they are constantly bombarded by advertising and marketing messages. Once in a while, offer them a breather and share content that can be of general interest. If it is good, it’ll help you engage with your audience better.
Food, fashion and travel are three separate categories but can be used in an interlinked way to create content that can work well with an audience who are interested in exploring multiple facets.
You can even pick up a social cause close to your target audience and see how things fit in.
Jaguar India used its blog to highlight the cause to save water. Using the hashtag #SaveWater, the brand then went on to show how its faucets contribute to the conservation process and how every drop matters.
10. Use UGC to your advantage
Have happy customers?
Aren’t they the best! Happy customers tend to generate positive reviews, product usage photos and viral content without you asking for it. All you need to do is give them the right platform and voice to share their opinion.
Made.com uses Instagram to showcase how people use their furniture. This type of social proof content works at multiple levels. It builds trust in the brand and also gives prospective customers real-world ideas on how the furniture is being used.
Similarly, Sharpie regularly posts Instagram photos of creations by actual users which are created using their products.
The recent Dream in Kholer contest has users coming in to build their dream bathroom on the platform hoping to win one in the process.
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic, engagement and sales for your e-Commerce website. Done consistently with the right strategy, it can also be the most cost-effective way to attract traffic to your business. The above 10 strategies have been tried and tested with several eCommerce brands and we are sure that it can also help your business draw in more traffic. If you want to know or discuss anything more about content marketing strategies for your ecommerce business, feel free to write to us at email@example.com or leave us comments below.
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